Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers. It causes the burning sensation for which hot peppers are famed. It turns out that this ingredient is useful in treating pain. That might sound strange, because if you’ve eaten many peppers capsaicin seems to cause a hot burning pain in your mouth rather than treat pain. However, when made into a topical cream, capsaicin is actually very effective at reducing pain.

There is a neurochemical that transmits pain called substance P; when applied topically, it has been found that capsaicin reduces this chemical. It has an analgesic effect on the target area, which can be very desirable when living with chronic pain.

The best part if that capsaicin cream is available in many grocery stores as well as online. A prescription isn’t necessary. Depending on the area of your body that needs pain relief, you can even apply it yourself. If you are dealing with back pain, it may be helpful to recruit the assistance of a loved one. Just make sure to either wear disposable gloves while applying the cream or to wash your hands immediately after. It does still come from peppers and will cause painful irritation in the eye or on particularly sensitive patches of skin.

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